In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Scoil Chomhgháin Naofa primary school has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
(a) A positive school culture and climate which-
is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
(b) Effective leadership;
(c) A school-wide approach;
(d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
(e) Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that
build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and trans-phobic bullying. (Trans-phobia is defined as emotional disgust, fear, anger or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who don't conform to society's gender expectations.)
(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
(g) Supports for staff;
(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
Bullying of School Staff
Bullying of school staff (teachers and responsible adults) by means of physical assault, damage to property, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour etc. is also completely unacceptable.
The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher initially, and the Principal teacher thereafter if necessary. In the absence of the Principal the Deputy Principal will become the relevant person.
2. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic* bullying - ) that will be used by the school are as follows :
We will adopt a whole school approach where all have a shared understanding of what constitutes bullying and an awareness of its negative impact.
The school staff will promote and foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance.
Children's self -esteem will be promoted through celebrating individual differences, acknowledging achievements, rewarding good behaviour and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum.
The school's Code of Behaviour will be brought to the attention of all pupils and their parents at the beginning of the school year. The rules and the reasons for them will be explained and discussed with pupils and will be referred to throughout the year as the need arises. This will be done at an age -appropriate level.
Teachers will help children develop empathy by discussing feelings and encouraging children to put themselves in place of others. Problem solving strategies will be explored with the children to help resolve conflict.
Children are made aware that bullying is an unacceptable form of behaviour. This is done explicitly through the Stay Safe, Walk Tall and the R.S.E. programmes (S.P.H.E. plan). Opportunities will be availed of in Religion, Drama, P.E. and Sport.
Teachers will engage children in group activities which will encourage them to work together, co-operate, listen to and respect one another's views eg. Project work, Junior Entrepeneur Award, Debating, School Quizzes, Football teams, and Athletics.
We will ensure that comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures are in place.
We will educate pupils on appropriate online behaviour, raising awareness of cyber-bullying and its implications.
The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows :
(a) In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
(b) All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s). In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
(c)Non-teaching staff such as School Secretary, Special Needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker and Cleaner must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
(d) Parents/Guardians and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
(e) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset.
(f) Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents.
(g) Initial investigations of bullying may take place in class where possible but some incidents might be best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
(h) All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way. In so far as is practical and possible confidentiality will be respected.
(i) When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
(j) If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements.
(k) Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher.
(l) It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).
(m) In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved will be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school will give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils.
(n) Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
(o) It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.
(p) Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved may be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect.
(q) In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement take the following factors into account:
Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased.
Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable.
Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.
(r) An additional follow up meeting with parents of the children involved may take place after an appropriate time to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.
(s)Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
(t) In the event that a parent has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Recording: Noting and recording of bullying behaviour will be documented using the template for recording bullying behaviour (Appendix 3). all records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation and Freedom of Information legislation. The school's procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following.
(i) While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
(ii) If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
(iii) The relevant teacher will use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
(a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and
(b) where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template at Appendix 3 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 3 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
At least once in each school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board of Management setting out
the overall number of bullying cases reported (by means of the recording template since the previous report to the Board.
Confirmation that all cases referred to at (i) above have been or are being dealt with in accordance with this Anti- Bullying Policy and the Anti- Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
The minutes of the Board of management meeting will record the above but in doing so will not include any identifying details of the pupils involved.
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves a whole school approach. Given the complexity of bullying behaviour, no one intervention/ support programme works in all situations. Therefore various approaches and intervention strategies may be used, including suggesting that parents seek referrals to appropriate outside agencies in order to receive further support for the pupils and their families, if needed.
Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
2. Prevention of Harassment
The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].
This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the Patron if requested.
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the Patron and the Department.
Signed: Fr John Dunphy Conor Denieffe
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date of next review: November 2021